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Stanford in the Wild

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April 29–May 2, 2021

Spring 2020 Speakers

David Camarillo, MS ’03, PhD ’08

David Camarillo is an assistant professor of bioengineering, mechanical engineering and, by courtesy, of neurosurgery at Stanford University. He completed his BSE in mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, his PhD in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, and postdoctoral fellowships in biophysics and biodesign innovation at UCSF and Stanford, respectively. David’s current research focus is on the diagnosis and prevention of mild traumatic brain injury, including concussion. He has been awarded the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award, among other honors, and his research has been funded by the NIH, NSF, DoD, as well as by corporations and private philanthropy. His lab’s work has been covered by NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, and more.

Markus Covert

Markus Covert is an associate professor of bioengineering and director of the Paul G. Allen Discovery Center for Systems Modeling at Stanford University. Over the course of his career, his lab has generated several exciting new technologies to measure, analyze and mathematically model the behaviors of individual cells. The lab is well-known for constructing the first "whole-cell" computational model, which explicitly represents all known gene functions and molecules in a bacterial cell. Markus also consults in industry, including on the scientific advisory board of Emerald Cloud Labs and as an inaugural Ambassador at X Labs, formerly Google X. For several years he has taught the popular course Bon Appétit, Marie Curie! The Science of Haute Cuisine with the Stanford Bing Overseas Studies Program in Paris.

Katherine Emery

Katherine Emery is a freelance photographer based in San Francisco. In her former work lives, she mowed lawns, taught French in Mississippi, edited children's books in New York, herded animators at Pixar and learned how to take risks from the fine minds at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. She’s especially interested in recording and celebrating the in-between moments of our lives, as she believes those quiet interactions that are the very fibers life swings upon—and that a good photo is a poem.

Josh Haner, ’02

Josh Haner is a staff photographer and the senior editor for photo technology at the New York Times. He was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography and has spent the last five years working across the globe to document the pressing and wide-ranging realities of climate change. Josh was a two-time Emmy nominee in the Outstanding New Approaches: Current News category (2017, 2019) and has received awards from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International and the National Press Photographers Association (Best of Photojournalism award). He received a bachelor’s in symbolic systems and a bachelor’s in studio art from Stanford University. He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter, spending his free time backpacking in the Sierra Nevada.

Jill Helms

Jill Helms is a professor in the department of surgery at Stanford University. She conducts longevity research that focuses on understanding why healing slows as we age, and then translates that new knowledge into therapeutic strategies that slow the natural process. Longevity has been the ambition of kings, super villains—and pretty much everyone who enjoys waking up each morning. It has also become a focus for biotechnology companies interested in making a big impact on healthcare. Jill looks forward to sharing longevity research insights and therapeutic strategies as part of this program.

Fern Mandelbaum, MBA ’88

Fern Mandelbaum is a lecturer at the Graduate School of Business and managing director at Emerson Collective, where she runs early stage investing. She is a faculty advisor in Stanford’s Distinguished Career Institute and co-teaches the Accel Innovation Scholars Program, a one-year entrepreneurship program for engineering PhD students at Stanford. Fern also co-founded Skyline Products, which was acquired by IDEO. She has since co-founded Vista Venture Partners and is committed to investing in companies that help people reach their full potential. Fern received her MBA from Stanford and attended Brown University. She enjoys running, cycling, power yoga, and going on walks with her family, friends and two dogs, Jasper and Riley. She is married and has two wonderful children, Skylar and Miles.

Allison Okamura, MS ’96, PhD ’00

Allison Okamura is a professor of mechanical engineering and, by courtesy, of computer science at Stanford University. She received her bachelor’s from UC Berkeley and her master’s and PhD from Stanford. She is an IEEE Fellow and is currently the editor-in-chief of the journal IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. Her awards include the Duca Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics Early Career Award, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award and the NSF CAREER Award. Her academic interests include haptics, teleoperation, virtual reality, medical robotics, soft robotics, rehabilitation and education. Outside academia, she enjoys running, playing ice hockey, and spending time with her husband and two children.

Jennifer Pan

Jennifer Pan is an assistant professor of communication and an assistant professor, by courtesy, of political science and sociology at Stanford University. Her research is at the intersection of political communication, computational social science and authoritarian politics. Jennifer is interested in how autocrats control information and shape public preferences in the digital age, and to examine these questions, she combines experimental and computational methods with large-scale datasets on political activity in non-democratic regimes. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics and more, in addition to media outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. After receiving her bachelor’s from Princeton University, she was based in New York and Beijing as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, before going on to receive her PhD from Harvard University. More information on her work can be found at

Dustin Schroeder

Dustin Schroeder is an assistant professor of geophysics and, by courtesy, of electrical engineering at Stanford University. He is also a faculty affiliate at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Dustin studies the role subglacial water plays in the evolution and stability of continental ice sheets and considers himself an instrument scientist, as he strives to approach problems from both an earth systems science and a radar systems engineering perspective. He is actively engaged with the flow of information through each step of the observational science process, from instrument and experiment design to data processing and analysis to modeling and inference, which allows him to draw from a multidisciplinary set of tools to test system-scale and process-level hypotheses. For him, this deliberate integration of science and engineering is the most powerful and satisfying way to approach questions in Earth and planetary science.

Lisa Solomon

Lisa Kay Solomon is designer in residence at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( at Stanford University. She is also an educator, an author, a futures practitioner and the founding chair of Transformational Practices at Singularity University. An expert in design thinking and strategic foresight, Lisa loves working with leaders of all ages—from K–12 to the executive boardroom—to foster the mindsets, skills and behaviors required to lead positive change in times of growing complexity. At the, Lisa designs and teaches inventive, experiential courses such as Inventing the Future (co-taught with Tina Seelig), Advance: Futures Thinking for Leaders, and Designing the President. She is the co-author of the bestselling book Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change